Missing Workers in North Carolina

In today’s labor market, the unemployment rate drastically understates the weakness of job opportunities. This is due to the existence of a large pool of “missing workers”—potential workers who, because of weak job opportunities, are neither employed nor actively seeking a job. In other words, these are people who would be either working or looking for work if job opportunities were significantly stronger. Because jobless workers are only counted as unemployed if they are actively seeking work, these “missing workers” are not reflected in the unemployment rate.

In order to provide a better measure of how the economy is faring, the Budget & Tax Center will produce an estimate of the missing workers in North Carolina each month after the release of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the North Carolina Division of Employment Security.


Total Missing Workers February 2017



Unemployment Rate if Missing Workers Were Looking for Work


Official Unemployment Rate